PicRights is persecuting websites and bloggers over alleged rights issues – who are they and their agents acting for?

The internet is full of chancers, dare we say bandits, and one who’s laying a claim to such a soubriquet is PicRights, which claims to be a resolution service for people whose copyright has been infringed.

We’ve recently had a number of aggressive approaches from PicRights and others like it (who may be related) about pics we used a decade ago – when MAA’s readers could be counted on a pinhead – purporting to represent the likes of rights owners PA, Reuters and Kodak.

One such missive from a company in Germany, claiming to represent Kodak, banged on about a tiny, single image and claimed €1700 euros, the alleged photographer’s usual dues. Rather doubt this. The photographer wasn’t specified and we have no proof it was theirs, whoever he or she may be.

And, of course, the follow-up documentation from messrs Manleys, based in Chester, doesn’t specify who the photographer was either. Are they officially acting for Kodak – I think we should be told.

PicRights’ own claim, allegedly on behalf of Reuters, amounts to £7500 for a dozen or so ancient images which may well have been plucked out of the ether by a kid on work experience. They used a firm in Glasgow, (presumably recognised by the Law Society) to whom we may return.

So there’s something very nasty going on and if you look on the internet you’ll see lots of stories about bloggers and the like being driven to distraction and worse by these characters. They may have organised things so they stay on the right side of the law – thanks to their solicitor friends – but they’re an abomination.

An issue for the likes of Kodak, PA and Reuters I’d say (do they get any money from these claims and what do they feel about extortion?) and the Law Society, which is supposed to uphold the highest standards of English law and its practitioners. Well, supposed to.

Doubtless there’ll be more.

PS PickRights UK resides at a serviced office at 133 Whitechapel High Street. But I doubt you’ll find anyone in.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

4 comments

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    Thanks for this. I have been caught by these people for a picture by the AFP I used two years and a half ago in a blog on my website which was hidden from view months ago. I paid a “fine” of £79. I am very angry about your revelations, is it legal? This is extorsion. Please, tell us more about this and how we can get more information about these people. Thanks again.

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    Still finding out Catherine. Thought they were legit at first too. What we’d like to know is whether the people they purport to be representing actually hired them in the first place. Good luck.

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    Unfortunately Burness Paull LLP have a PicRights Team and they’re chasing us by email and letter for a single photo we used in a newsletter 10 years ago! They want £400!!

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    My family business have been barraged with emails from PicRights UK for demands for £506 for the last several months and yesterday received a Solicitors letter from Scotland with similar demands. The image complained of is not the image owned by PA images so we have stood our ground and engaged in our own due diligence of PicRights which reveals that only a few days ago they changed their name to Newco SM1 describing their business activities as ” Management Consultancy Activities other than financial management from the same address.
    Interestingly none of the PicRights companies have been registered with the UK Information Commissioners Office – ICO and or the Financial Conduct Authority – FCA which suggests they are operating illegally. Looking at their accounts they are not really financially that sound and one wonders why the change of name, perhaps it is to get away from the dozens of complaints on the internet.
    The above is the tip of a very large iceberg so to speak and more will be revealed if and when they decide to take us to court, which are will defend and counter claim .

    The solicitors letter does not display any reference or name for the individual at the firm and surprise surprise the wording and layout is very similar to emails from PicRights and most importantly a settlement agreement they demand we sign is signed by an individual on the behalf of PA Images we believe to irregular.

    I am surprised that an established firm of solicitors have a business relationship with an organisation that is clearly trolling the internet and targeting small businesses with unevidenced claims of this nature, it will be interesting to see what their reaction will be when witness statements and evidence are requested to support their case.

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